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July 29, 2009 > Shopping spree for kids in need

Shopping spree for kids in need

By Meenu Gupta

Missing school for want of money is unfair and should not happen to any child. In the spirit of helping those in need during the upcoming "back to school" season, Milpitas Kiwanis Club holds an annual Back to School shopping event.

Milpitas Kiwanis Club is a group of 14 dedicated Milpitas residents that work hard to improve the world, one child and one community at a time.

The club either directly sponsors or partners in varied local events, Relay for Life (American Cancer Society), Jack Emery Holiday Food Drive (Milpitas Food Pantry & Milpitas Unified School District), Turn-Around Scholarships (Kiwanis International), John Farley / Save Mart - Thanksgiving Food Drive, and Milpitas High School Key Club.

In the past the shopping spree event was called Kiwanis/Mervyn's Shopping Spree. With the closing of Mervin's the Milpitas Kiwanis has partnered with Kohl's in its "Kohl's Cares for Kids" program. Though the name has changed, the format remains the same.

The event will be held at the Kohl's of the Great Mall in Milpitas. The Kiwanis show up at 6 a.m. to set up and get ready. The chaperones, volunteers and the kids and their parents show up at 6:30 a.m. The actual shopping starts at 7 a.m. and is usually concluded by 8:30 to 9 a.m.

Live music is provided by South Bay Kids and refreshments are available for all. Once the parent fills out a form with the specific needs and sizes, the chaperones make sure that the shopping list is followed. Chaperones accompany the child into the store and help the child pick out the items that are needed. "We do not allow the parents to accompany the child as we want to insure that the shopping is actually done for the child in need" said Club Secretary, Dennis Knight.

The Milpitas Kiwanis has been sponsoring the event for the last ten years. "This event has been extremely popular with the children and their families that have been identified by the school district as needing help" said Knight. "We sponsor 100 children for $100 each for the back to school shopping spree in August and if we run a holiday event, we usually sponsor 25 for the same amount. With store discounts and tax free spending [501 (c) (3) organization] we are able to purchase about $125 worth of goods for each child."

Kohl's is generously sponsoring five children's shopping and hosting the event. Kiwanis has raised nearly $7,000.00 so far to sponsor at least 70 children. Their goal is to sponsor 100 children with the help of the merchants of the Great Mall.

Since its inception, the Milpitas Kiwanis Club has sponsored over 1000 under-privileged local Milpitas students on a shopping spree of $100.00 per child. If anyone wishes to help sponsor this event, donations are gratefully accepted. Mail your contributions to Milpitas Kiwanis, P.O. Box 362194, Milpitas CA 95036.

For more information contact Dennis Knight at ldknight@comcast.net.or at (408) 263-7445.

Shopping spree
Sunday, August 2
7 a.m.
1150 Great Mall Dr., Milpitas
(408) 263-7445

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